St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Jaime Garcia throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2010, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash) By Morry Gash
St. Louis Cardinals' Felipe Lopez throws his bat as he pops out during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2010, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash) By Morry Gash
Milwaukee Brewers relief pitcher Jeremy Jeffress reacts after getting St. Louis Cardinals' Aaron Miles to ground out to end a baseball game Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2010, in Milwaukee. The Brewers won 8-1. (AP Photo/Morry Gash) By Morry Gash
MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Ryan Braun hit a three-run homer and the Milwaukee Brewers roughed up St. Louis rookie Jaime Garcia in an 8-1 win Wednesday night that kept the slumping Cardinals from gaining ground in the postseason chase.
Albert Pujols hit his 36th homer in the first for the Cardinals, but that was the only run Chris Capuano (3-3) allowed over seven innings.
Garcia (13-7) had been looking for his fourth straight win. Instead, he gave up a career-high seven runs as his ERA rose to 2.69.
The Cardinals began the day six games behind Cincinnati in the NL Central. The Reds played later at Colorado.
St. Louis has fallen flat chasing the Reds, losing 11 of the last 15 with 25 games to go. those four wins, Garcia had three of them with an 0.86 ERA in the span.
The 24-year-old left-hander was again expected to be the stopper, but after the second inning, it was clear he didn't have his best stuff and was gone after the fourth.
Capuano scattered four hits in his longest outing since 2007 after missing the last two seasons because of his second Tommy John surgery.
All of Milwaukee's runs came with two outs. Braun tied it in the third with a single and Milwaukee scored two more on Casey McGehee's single. After Corey Hart's RBI single in the fourth made it 4-1, Braun homered.
Braun has been sizzling down the stretch and his fourth-inning drive carried just beyond the reach of Colby Rasmus at the left-center field wall. Since Aug. 2, Braun is hitting .403 with four homers and 20 RBIs after being mired in the worst slump of his young career most of the summer.
Braun joined teammates Prince Fielder (30), Hart (27), Rickie Weeks (26) and McGehee (20) with at least 20 homers.
Pujols, who homered for the first time in 11 games, should reach the 100-RBI mark for the 10th straight year in the coming days after driving in his 98th with his first-inning shot.
Notes: The Brewers won the season series 8-7. ... Career saves leader Trevor Hoffman got another loud ovation before the game after highlights of his 600th save notched Tuesday night were shown on the scoreboard. ... Cardinals LHP Trever Miller (left forearm strain) had an MRI scan and is considered day to day. 3B David Freese had minor surgery to his left ankle after the club previously announced he was out for the season following right ankle surgery.
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